A10 Saturday Preview: Opening Day in the Atlantic 10 Conference

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Game of the Day

St. Joseph’s Hawks vs. Richmond Spiders, 12:30 PM ET

The Hawks and the Spiders clash in what will be the first Atlantic 10 conference game of the season on Saturday. The two teams enter this game with a combined 18 wins and 6 losses. The Hawks boast a very good non-conference record at 10-2; Richmond has 3 wins over RPI Top 100 teams. This should be an excellent matchup for both teams, and whoever can come out on top will get a very good head start in conference play.

Saturday’s matchup will be a battle of frontcourts: Who will win between Richmond’s Terry Allen and T.J. Cline and St. Joseph’s Isaiah Miles and DeAndre’ Bembry? Each team boasts a duo of outstanding forwards that are all-conference caliber players. Whichever team asserts its dominance in the paint will likely be the one to come out on top.

This game will be a matter of whether or not St. Joseph’s defense can stop Richmond’s high-powered offense. The Spiders average over 79 points per game while the Hawks are only giving up just under 69 points per game. Something has to give on Saturday afternoon, and if St. Joseph’s can slow down Richmond, they can get the road win.

All in all, this is one of the better games of the day between two teams that could easily finish at the very top of the Atlantic 10 this season. While they both likely stand as NCAA “bubble” teams right now, a win for either side will prove huge later in the season. While I really like St. Joseph’s this year, Richmond has had a harder schedule and will use its non-conference experience to its advantage. I like the Spiders in this one.

Prediction: St. Joseph’s 70, Richmond 77

The Rest

Dayton Flyers vs. Duquesne Dukes, 2:30 PM ET

This serves as one of the more interesting matchups of the day. Dayton enters conference play at 10-2 and has 5 wins over RPI Top 100 teams. Needless to say, they had one of the best showings in the non-conference among all Atlantic 10 teams. But with a 10-3 record stands Duquesne, who was able to get off to one of its best starts in almost 40 years. The Dukes are 1-2 against RPI Top 100 teams, but they’ve proved that they can compete and win games this year. Duquesne will be hosting Dayton on Saturday, and the Dukes will definitely have upset on their minds. Dayton will have to bring all that it’s got in this one.

Saint Louis Billikens vs. Rhode Island Rams, 4:30 PM ET

The Rams and the Billikens will clash in their Atlantic 10 opener on Saturday. Saint Louis has lost 7 of its last 8 games and is in dire need of a win; Rhode Island has other plans. The Rams narrowly escaped Brown on Wednesday in order to 8-5 on the year. The Billikens have not been the team they were hoping to be this season, and it would be very surprising to see them finish in the top half of the A10 this year. Rhode Island should roll in this one, but maybe Saint Louis can turn things around.

George Mason Patriots vs. VCU Rams, 5 PM ET

The Patriots will visit the Rams after more than a week away from basketball. VCU has won its last three games after dropping three before that and is finally starting to look like the team it was projected to be. VCU struggled to do much against good teams in the non-conference, as it went just 1-4 against the RPI Top 100; George Mason was 1-2. Expect VCU to pick up its fourth consecutive victory on Saturday. The Rams might be a sleeper in the Atlantic 10 this year.

Davidson Wildcats vs. St. Bonaventure Bonnies, 8 PM ET

There’s no denying that this could be one of the tightest games we see all day across the Atlantic 10. There is quite a bit of equity between these two teams. The Bonnies and the Wildcats both enter conference play at 8-3. Davidson has just 1 win over the RPI Top 100 compared to St. Bonaventure who has 0. Kenpom ranks Davidson as 94th overall and St. Bonaventure as 105th overall. This game really could go either way, and even though Davidson is probably the slightly better team, the Bonnies have home court advantage. You don’t want to miss this one.

 

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About Author

Grant Labedz is a college basketball superfan who loves the entire sport but definitely has favorites in the A-10 and the Big Ten. He has written for SB Nation's BT Powerhouse (Big Ten Basketball) and The Champaign Room (Illinois Basketball). He also co-founded his own Illinois Basketball blog called The Groce Report. Grant is a member of the Davidson Class of 2020. Shoot him an email at [email protected] Follow @GrantLabedz

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